Proof of the Puppeteer
Former Student Union President Running Secret Slate: Student
A Concordia student is alleging that former Concordia Student Union President Amine Dabchy has been secretly cooperating with the CSU’s current executive to run a slate in next week’s elections.
Cinema Student Association President AJ West said that, on Dec. 11, he met with CSU President Heather Lucas at a Presse Café to discuss his future in Concordia politics.
What followed, he claims, was a surprisingly sophisticated vetting process that involved multiple meetings, interviews and a written exam.
“[Lucas] asked if I would be interested in running with the CSU and I said absolutely,” said West. “She said ‘you need to be 100 per cent into this right now or not. Your interview is in a half an hour.’ So I said ‘Ok yeah I’m in.’
“Lucas was supportive in helping us reform the Fine Arts Student Alliance’s constitution,” he continued. “So I believed in her and was interested in helping students out.”
According to West, Dabchy showed up to the meeting and began testing him on his knowledge of the services provided by the student union. He was told to study the CSU’s bylaws to prepare for a written exam.
“The last question of my interview,” said West, “was ‘AJ, how many friends do you have on Facebook?’”
West said the vetting process came to an end in mid December at Dabchy’s downtown apartment. While meeting with a handful of the other candidates recruited by the student union, West felt uncomfortable and decided to back out.“Amine said, ‘if anyone doesn’t want to do this, you need to get out now,’” said West. “That was when I decided I wasn’t going to be running with them because I didn’t believe in what they were doing. Dabchy was president two years ago; I was concerned that he was involved in running a slate for next year.”
The next day, West said he met Lucas, who asked for his assurance he wouldn’t say anything.
“The first emphasis was that nobody was to know that Heather and Amine are involved in our slate at all,” said West. “That was her number one rule: do not tell.”
Both Lucas and Dabchy have strongly denied West’s story.
“I’ve never heard of an AJ West,” Dabchy told The Link. “I’m not involved in any kind of political planning at the CSU. We’re a week away from the CSU general elections. This strikes me as something political. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw AJ’s face on a poster next week.”
CSU VP External & Projects Adrien Severyns echoed Dabchy’s statement.
“At this time of year, anything can be fabricated for political reasons.”
West stressed that his allegations were not politically motivated.
Additionally, a thread of text messages provided to The Link points to a series of meetings between Lucas, someone they refer to as “Amine” and West. These correspondences largely substantiate his allegations.
In her letter of resignation, former CSU VP Sustainability & Promotions Morgan Pudwell referred to Dabchy as a “puppeteer,” alleging that he has a worrisome amount of influence over the actions of CSU executives.
She also told The Link that she knew of other students who were approached by CSU executives to run in next week’s elections.
“AJ is the only student I know of that specifically made it all the way to the room that Dabchy was in,” she said. “I know of other students who were approached by members of the executive, but as far as getting to that room, he is the first.”
West said he came forward “because Pudwell accused Dabchy of running a slate in the upcoming elections, and when the CSU’s executive denied this, I felt I had to defend Pudwell’s reputation. She has always been a helpful member of the CSU.”
West added that he came to the press because he felt Lucas and the CSU were lying when they denied Dabchy was running a slate in the upcoming elections.
“The reason that I’m coming out with this is because Dabchy is involved and that Lucas said he wasn’t. She knew he was involved and she lied about it, and that disappoints me.”
This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 25, published March 8, 2011.